Monday, June 15, 2020
Quest: Soldiers, cops and immigration
Krystal was pissed.
She saw Grant and Chernovsky hauling sheets of plywood up to the house.
Grant started nailing them over windows and the back door. He waited for her to leave before boarding up the front door.
So much for sneaking back in.
No matter. She would walk over to Gabby’s Pub. She had no doubt that she could hook-up with some guy who would be more than happy to share his bed with her. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
After that? Well, Jesse had spoken of Ann Arbor in glowing terms. He had assured her that there was no shortage of jobs for pretty girls like her.
Krystal had a very high opinion of her “good looks”. When she looked in the mirror, she saw an EXCEPTIONALLY pretty girl. What other people saw when they looked at her was a very tired twenty-year-old whose face and physique was sagging and melting like the body of a woman who was twice her age and ill.
“Thanks for the help, man. You didn’t need to do that” Grant said.
“No sweat, brother. It feels good to use my muscles” Chernovsky said. Chernovsky’s frame was much lankier than Grant’s. He could handle the four-foot-by-eight-foot sheets of plywood with ease. With Grant hammering nails and Chernovsky hauling wood, the work proceeded quickly.
“I have an old bottle of bourbon I have been saving if you want a sip or two before you head home” Rick told Chernovsky as they were walking home. It was about a twenty minute half-hour walk.
“Only one” Chernovsky said.
“You know I talk to Benicio every week, right?” Rick said.
“Yeah. So?” Chernovsky replied.
“He has spies in Ann Arbor. He said we have no more than two months to get ready but he doesn’t think it will be any sooner” Rick replied.
“You better tell that to Quinn. He is getting hammered with refugees on I-96. He could really use a hand” Chernovsky said.
“Why are refugees a problem? Doesn’t he have enough soldiers?” Rick asked.
Rick had his blind spots.
“He has enough bodies to defend the buffer-zone as soldiers. Or he has enough bodies to process refugees. But they are two very different jobs and require two, very different mind-sets” Chernovsky lectured him.
“If we ask Quinn to administer the refugees then his people will not be able to flip-on-a-dime and be soldiers when the balloon goes up”
“He cannot do both. His people can’t do both” Chernovsky said
“As long as we are talking about wearing too many hats, I need to tell you the police tasks you have been scraping off on me make it impossible to do my main job” Chernovsky said.
It was hard for him to admit he had limitations, but it was something he owed Rick.
Rick was frustrated to hear Chernovsky whining. “Look. We are ALL working our asses off. The most I worked before Ebola was seventy-hours-a-week. There was a six month stretch where that is what the job demanded. I am working more than that, now” Rick said.
“What would you have me do?” Rick concluded.
“Grant impressed me. He showed a lot of maturity and foresight when he asked us to witness the eviction. And then he didn’t ask us to do it, he just wanted us there to ensure it didn’t escalate” Chernovsky said. “Deputize him.”
“He has a full-time job” Rick said, dismissing the idea.
“He cuts wood five days a week and he knocks off for the day when he runs out of light, not because he is exhausted” Chernovsky said. “I bet if you asked him, and told him he would be paid, he would be willing to sort through the simpler issues.
In fact, Rick was getting hammered by all of the storekeepers in Capiche.
They were paying taxes and getting no benefits. Not only that, Steve and Pete Gupta suddenly found themselves with competition outside Capiche; competition that could undercut their prices because they didn’t levy sales taxes.
Both men claimed to have lost 40% of their sales volume. Additionally, petty theft was up.
Rick got an earful from Kate when he suggested that she deal with it herself.
“Look buster, I know who is stealing my merchandise but I have a store to run. I can’t chase them down the street.” Kate said.
“Then don’t allow them back in. Revoke their shopping privileges” Rick suggested.
That was not the right thing to say.
“And what happens when I try to muscle one of these guys out of my store? Do you think I can physically overpower these guys. And when I am focusing on one of them, the other three fill their pockets with merchandise” Kate said. “I am losing money on the store and will have to shut down unless something is done.”
Rick had no idea that the situation was so dire. Kate’s store had been the nucleus that the rest of Capiche had crystallized around. Kate shutting down would be a very big deal And if Kate had to deal with it, the other three stores were as well.
That is when Rick tried to give the job of policing Capiche to Chernovsky.
Now it looked like Chernovsky didn’t want the job. Scratch that, he said he couldn’t do the job.
For lack of a simpler solution, he would have to consider farming the work out to Grant. Rick was forced to admit, Grant kept his cool even though Krystal was trying to push his buttons. And Rick knew from experience that nobody is better at pushing buttons than family.
The more Rick thought about it, the more obvious the deputizing Grant as a part-time deputy made sense. Rick would have to find him transportation if he was going to cover all of Capiche after normal work hours. They probably owed Grant some kind of uniform to make him look more official, but that was a minor detail the others would likely have opinions about.
First thing in the morning, Rick was going to have a little talk with Grant Killillea. There was no point pursuing it with the other leaders if Grant wasn’t interested in the job.